My little piece of White Washed Heaven
My initial attraction to earthenware came from its association with utilitarian objects. It has been used to make roof tiles, gutters, and some pretty rockin historical pots. (click here to see some great pots) I got to work this summer at Watershed with their brick clay. I made a few pots on the wheel and I was amazed at its ruggedness. It was coarse and I had to be very direct in my throwing. I couldn't dilly daly around with the form. I had to have a set idea and get to it pretty quick. If I tried to change one form into another, it would often collapse. Its lack of plasticity made my decisions matter. I had much less room for error.
I have become very interested in how a coarse material like this can be transformed into an upper middle class commodity( i.e. art pottery). When I decorate my pots I cover them with patterns made of slip. You can always see the clay body underneath the layers of marks. I love to see the red of the sgraffito lines, or the edges of handles. After thinking about why I am so attracted to this I realized that it comes from all the white washed brick houses I have seen in Va. When my father bought our family land he built on to my grandmothers house and whitewashed the brick. It was a signifier of a fresh start. It wasn't about erasing the history or structure of the house. It was about the rebirth that happens through resurfacing. Im very interested in this rebirth cycle. My study of quilts comes from the same plate. Old become new when its parts are rearranged.